Dunterlie Park

13:30 28 January 2023


Arthurlie: Simeon (53, 62), McGregor (60)

Darvel: Truesdale (20), Mackenzie (32)

THE giant-killers of Monday night were welcomed to Barrhead as top of the table Darvel followed up their Scottish cup victory over Aberdeen with a trip to Dunterlie.

While it may lack the same historical significance, what was to transpire on this Saturday afternoon was something that will also be remembered for a long time to come, only it will be the Arthurlie fans looking back on this one with smiles on their faces.

The opening stages had showed no signs of what was to come though, the game starting slowly with a couple of close offside decisions breaking up the early play, including one that denied Jordan Shelvey a debut Arthurlie goal at the end of a nice move.

The first real effort on goal came from the visitors on 8 minutes when Ross Caldwell sent a half-volley just over the bar from close range.

In the 18th minute Arthurlie first showed their attacking qualities by stretching the away defence to its limit, Dale Simeon getting into space on the right and seeing his low cross only just evade the onrushing Lee Roulston in the centre.

Two minutes later, however, it was the visitors who took the lead, Jordan Kirkpatrick’s shot deflecting to Craig Truesdale, who lashed a left-footer past James Scott into the far left corner.

In the 32nd minute that lead was doubled, Allan Mackenzie grabbing his third of the season against ‘Lie, turning home a low cross from close range.

Two minutes before the interval, Ross Meechan nearly added a third but his effort from 15-yards was deflected just past Scott’s right-hand post.

It was to be the last action in a first-half that had saw both sides enjoy healthy spells of possession with, ultimately, the away side’s extra quality in the attacking third proving the difference.

The home team started the second period brightly and Mackenzie came close to turning a corner into his own net on 52 minutes, seeing the ball whistle wide of the far post.

Darvel immediately broke up the park from the resulting corner and should have sealed the points, Truesdale latching on to a mistake on the halfway line from Connor Bradley, but being thwarted by the alert Scott, who raced off his line to smother the forward’s loose touch.

It was a miss that quickly came back to haunt the visitors and prove to be the turning point of the match, ‘Lie then launching a quick counter of their own and Dale Simeon powering home a right-foot drive from the right of the Darvel goal to make it 2-1.

Eight minutes later the scores were level when Ryan McGregor rose to head home a Simeon corner from six yards.

And a quite incredible turnaround saw Simeon give Craig Palmer’s men the lead two minutes later, the ‘Lie number 10 running on to a through ball and expertly finishing low past Chris Truesdale in the away goal.

The game had turned into a bit of a thriller by this point, flowing from end to end, and Darvel missed a golden opportunity for their own third when Kirkpatrick headed wide went it seemed easier to score.

With 10 minutes remaining Caldwell came close to levelling the scores but narrowly missed the target with a curling left-foot shot from 20 yards.

The pace of Simeon in attack had proved a constant threat for the home team and his pass on 82 from the right-wing just failed to find substitute Gary Carroll, Truesdale winning the race for the 50-50 ball.

Arthurlie may have taken their time to get started and find their way into this match but they were seeing out the time well here and Connor Bradley thought he had won a foul on the halfway line as he tried to run the ball up the wing, going down when challenged by two visiting players.

It seemed an obvious foul, but the referee waved played on and in the protests that followed from the home bench, coach Robert Kerr was shown a red card.

In the dying moments Lewis Warnock was put through on goal after a lung-bursting run from deep in his own half, but Truesdale was equal to his effort, saving bravely at the substitute’s feet.

It was the last action of a quite incredible 90 minutes of football, the old game of two halves, and a deserved three points for the Barrhead men to send a jubilant home support off into the night to celebrate.

Arthurlie team: Scott, McBride, Bradley, Magee, MacNeil; McGregor, McLaughlin (Warnock 47), Leyden (c); Roulston, Simeon, Shelvey (Carroll 74)

Subs not used: Pearce, Nolan, Martin, Smith, Black (GK)

Darvel team: Truesdale, Eadie, Meggatt, McShane, Mackenzie, Kirkpatrick (Moore 65), Meechan, Ferguson, McGowan (Syme 65), Truesdale (Stirling 65), Caldwell

Subs not used: Miller, Reilly, Avci, Morrison